Josef Pardus – 22.08.22. – Choltice



Posted in 311 Sqd, Ceremony, Events, Forthcoming Events, Not Forgotton | Leave a comment

Evzen Cizek – One of the Few





Evžen ČÍŽEK



One of the Few



…………….* 10.12.1904, Slezská.

…………….† 26.11.1942, Cardiff Bay, UK.





Pre WW2:

Evžen Čížek was born on 10 December 1904, at Slezská, near Ostrava, Czechoslovakia.

After graduating from High School, aged 18, he joined the Czechoslovak Army in 1922 at the Army Academy at Hranice from where he graduated in 1924 at the rank of Lieutenant. From 1924 to 1925 he undertook further training at the Infantry School at Milovice. From 1 January to 1 April 1926 he attended post-training course XXIII at Cheb. On graduation Evžen then served in several infantry regiments, holding various lower command positions until 1928 when he transferred to the newly formed Czechoslovak Air Force.

Initially he served as an aerial observer but in 1932 was selected to attend the Military Aviation Academy at Prostějov for pilot training and then further training for fighter pilots and night flying. Having completed his training Evžen was posted to the 1st TG Masaryk Air Regiment, stationed at at Prague-Kbely airbase. In 1934 he was appointed Commander of the Regiment’s 43rd Fighter Squadron and on 31 March 1937, having achieved the rank of Staff Captain he was appointed Commander of the Regiments 44th Fighter Squadron (later renamed as the 32nd Fighter Squadron) for the next two years; they were equipped initially with Avia Ba-33 and later Avia B-534 biplane fighter aircraft. Concurrently, he also served as Deputy Commander of the Regiments Fighter Squadron III/1.

Avia B-534.

By the Autumn of 1938, the political situation in central Europe was now changing rapidly. Hitler and the Nazi’s in Germany were making territorial demands on the Czechoslovak Government in respect of the Sudetenland border regions. This resulted in Czechoslovakia calling a general mobilisation and thus all men, of military age, were drafted into the military to help defend the country in the event of invasion. During this period 32 Fighter Squadron were deployed to Moravia and Slovakia, as part of the 3rd Army group, to defend the country’s airspace against intruders. The squadron was tasked with having having to defending a 574 km frontline against attack from the Hungarian Air Force and Army.

Following the Munich Agreement of 30 September 1938, when the Sudetenland was ceded to Germany, Poland and Hungary took advantage of the situation and also took some Czechoslovak territory. About 30% of Czechoslovakian territory had been lost and the new revised German border was now only 20 miles from Prague. 32 Fighter Squadron returned to their base at Hradec Králove without having fired a shot.

Czechoslovakia, Autumn 1938.

On 15 March 1939, Germany occupied the remaining regions of Czechoslovakia and claimed that the country was now under the protection of Germany. Czechoslovakia’s military forces immediately ceased to exist in this Reich Protectorate. The following day the Czechoslovak Air Force was disbanded and the airmen were given the opportunity to enlist in the Luftwaffe or join Lufthansa. Only a handful did. By the time of of this disbandment, Evžen had achieved 1,262 flying hours and the rank of štábní kapitán [Squadron Leader].

With 32nd Squadron, Evžen had become an inspirational Commander who had fostered an excellent fighting morale amongst the pilots under his command. This manifested to inspired some 75% of them who, after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, voluntarily left their homeland and made their way via Poland, or later through the Balkans, to France to continue the fight against the Germans.

Poland:

Germanisation of Bohemia and Moravia began immediately after the occupation, but just four days later, on 19 March 1939, former Senior officers of the now-disbanded Czechoslovak military had started to form an underground army, known as Obrana Národa [Defense of the Nation]. Obrana Národa worked in co-operation with Svaz Letců, the Airman Association of the Czechoslovak Republic. One of their objectives was to assist as many as possible airmen and soldiers to get to neighbouring Poland where they could be formed into military units to fight for the liberation of their homeland. These two organisations provided money, courier and other assistance to enable airmen to escape. Usually, this was by crossing the border from the Ostrava region into Poland. Evžen was one of the many Czechoslovak airmen and soldiers who saw it was their duty to go to Poland from where they could fight to achieve the liberation of Czechoslovakia.

He left Czechoslovakia on 15 June 1939 crossing the border into Poland and then to the Czechoslovak Consulate at Krakow, where he reported for duty. Unfortunately, here he was to find that the information about Czechoslovak military units being assembled in Poland had been incorrect; the Polish authorities would not permit it as they were concerned about antagonising Nazi Germany and provoking it to attack Poland.

The Czechoslovak Consulate had however been in negotiations with France, a country with which Czechoslovakia had an Alliance Treaty. Under French law, foreign military units could not be formed on its soil during peacetime. The Czechoslovak escapers, however, could be accepted into the French Foreign Legion with the agreement that should war be declared they would be transferred to French military units. The Czechoslovaks would, however, have to enlist with the French Foreign Legion for a five-year term. The alternative was to be returned to occupied Czechoslovakia and face German retribution for escaping – usually imprisonment or execution with further retribution to their families.

In the interim, whilst arrangements were made for their journey to France, they were transferred to Bronowice Małe, a former Polish army barracks on the outskirts of Krakow. With 546 other escapees, Evžen left Bronowice Małe by train for the Polish Baltic port of Gdynia where, on 29 July, they boarded the MS Chroby, a Polish trans Atlantic passenger ship, on her maiden voyage to South America and on the 1 August arrived at Boulogne, France.

Evžen Čížek, Bronowice Małe, 24 July 1939.

France:

Czechoslovak’s dismbarking from the MS Chroby, Boulogne.

At Boulogne, they disembarked and after some refreshments, they boarded a train for the thirteen-hour journey to Paris. They arrived there at 17:30 and were taken by coaches to the French Foreign Legion’s recruitment barracks at Place Ballard, in the South West of Paris. There they had to undergo medical checks and further tests, whilst the necessary documentation was prepared for their enlistment into the Legion and their transfer to the Legion’s training base at Sidi bel Abbes, Algeria. During this period they would usually attend French classes and any free time was spent in Paris exploring the sights and practising their newly learnt French with the girls they met. Before that transfer process could be completed, war was declared and Evžen and the other Czechoslovak airmen were transferred instead to the l’Armée de l’Air at their recruitment centre at Dugny, near Paris.

From there, they went to the Centre d’Instruction de Chasse at Chartres, the l’Armée de l’Air training airbase, about 50 miles South-West of Paris, for re-training onto French equipment. On 2 December 1939, having completed his retraining, Evžen, was posted as an operational pilot, with the rank of Lieutenant, to GC III /3, Also posted with him from Chartres were fellow Czechoslovaks Josef Hubaček and Václav Šlouf, The squadron was based at Toul-Ochey airbase and they were equipped with MS-406 fighter aircraft, which by May 1940 were replaced with Dewoitine D.520 aircraft.

Dewoitine D.520.

The three Czechoslovaks were later joined, on 17 May 1940, by six of their countrymen: František Běhal, Jan Čermák, Bedřich Krátkoruký, Tomáš Kruml, Karel Kuttelwascher and Josef Novák who had completed their re-training at Chartes.

Evžen with other Czechoslovak and French airmen, Chartres, October 1939.

During the Battle of France Evžen flew 83.35 operational hours the 2nd highest flown by a Czechoslovak l’Armée de l’Air pilot and achieved five victories (three of which were shared):

Date:

Time:

Type Flown:

Action:

11.05.40

18:30

MS-406

Me109
Maastricht, Belgium

14.05.40.

07:45

MS-406

1/3 share of Do 176, near Namur, Belgium

19.05.40.

05:35

MS-406

Hs126 shared, near Le Quesnoy

19.05.40.

17:15 > 18:30

MS-406

1/3 share Do 205, west of Valenciennes

06.06.40.

15:45 > 16:30

D-520

Me 109, near Beauvraigne

These combat achievements made him the 9th most successful Czechoslovak pilot in the Battle of France; he was awarded the Order of the Légion d‘Honneur, Chevalier grade, and the Croix de Guerre with 2 palms and 5 gold stars.

The rapid German Blitzkreig forced the Allied frontline back causing l’Armée de l’Air to frequently to move its airfields westwards. In the case of GC/III, by the early part of June, this was now on a daily basis. With the French capitulation imminent, GCIII/3, was then situated at Perpignan, La Salanque airfield, in south-west France. On 19 June, they evacuated mainland France and flew their aircraft over the Mediterranean to Maison Blanche airbase, Algeria. During the Battle of France he had flown 85.35 operational hours, the 2nd largest flown by a Czechoslovak l’Armée de l’Air pilot.

By the conclusion of the Battle of France, Evžen had achieved a total of 1262 flying hours in his aviation career.

MS-406.

France capitulated on 22 June 1940. In Algeria, the Czechoslovak airmen learned that Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, had appealed to all the evacuated Czechoslovak airmen to come to Britain and continue their fight against the Germans from there. The Armée de l’Air released the Czechoslovak airmen from their service and told them to report to British Officers who would assist with arrangements to get them by train to Casablanca, Morocco, and then to Britain. On 4 July 1940, Evžen, with the other Czechoslovak airmen departed from Maison Blanche and travelled by train for four days across the Sahara Desert to Casablanca, Morocco. As Evžen was the senior Czechoslovak officer of the group he acted as their liaison officer in Casablanca during their evacuation. From there, on 9 July, the Czechoslovak airmen boarded the SS Royal Scotsman which sailed to Gibraltar and from where they embarked on to the MV David Livingstone and sailed to England.

Due to having contracted pleurisy, Evžen’s own evacuation from Casablanca was delayed until 1 August when, with Jaroslav Kulhánek, Jan Čermák and Václav Šikl, they sailed on the ‘Nereida’ to Lisbon, Portugal. After arrival at Lisbon, Evžen managed to reach Mérignac airbase at Bordeaux, France From here, on 17 June 1940, with a group of 38 Czechoslovak airmen, led by kpt.let. Ferdinand Secký, they were able to board the last BOAC flight, a four-engined Armstrong Whitworth aircraft, G-ADSV, AV1160, to leave the bomb damaged airbase. After a flight lasting 5½ hours, at an altitude of 150 to 200 mtrs, they landed at 21:30 at Hendon, England.

Evžen Čížek with Jaške Josef, l’Armée de l’Air, Spring 1940.

RAF:

Evžen was accepted into the RAF VR, on 20 August 1940, at the rank of P/O. On 28 September 1940, along with 18 other Czechoslovak pilots, he was posted to 6 OTU at Sutton Bridge, near Spalding, for re-training on Hurricanes. There, on 5 October, whilst flying Hurricane N2341, his aircraft crashed at Sutton Bridge due to engine failure. Evžen was uninjured in the crash and only the Hurricane’s engine was damaged.

His retraining was completed on 14 October 1940 and with fellow Czechoslovaks P/O František Běhal and Sgt’s Antonín Zavoral and Jan Štefan from 6 OTU, Evžen was posted to 1 Sqn stationed at RAF Wittering, near Peterborough. After being heavily engaged in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain, the squadron had, on 9 September, after being heavily engaged in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain had transferred from their 11 Group base at RAF Northolt, to RAF Wittering, , part of 12 Group, to rest and recuperate its pilots and refit its Hurricane Mk I fighter aircraft.

Evžen’s maiden flight with 1 Sqn, a 65 min formation flight in Hurricane V7464, was made on 16 October. Subsequent flights during the remainder of October were limited to training flights – formation flying, air-drills, dogfight practise, circuits and landing and radio-communication. With 1 Sqn, Evžen was able to participated in the final days of the Battle of Britain, making his first operational flight on 27 October 1940, a scramble in Hurricane V7379 at 16:50, returning to base at 18:40. This was now the final stage of the Battle of Britain, but he saw no combat during this period.

On 11 December 1940, he was posted to take command of 312 (Czechoslovak) Sqn replacing S/Ldr Jan Ambruš who, after some unfortunate incidents commanding the squadron, was being posted to the Czechoslovak Inspectorate General in London. The squadron was stationed at RAF Speke, now John Lennon airport, at Liverpool and equipped with Hurricane fighter aircraft. Their role was the defence of the city and its ports against Luftwaffe air raids.

On 27 May 1941, now aged 37 years – too old to be an operational fighter pilot – and still suffering the after effects of the pleurisy he had contracted in North Africa, Evžen was posted to the Czechoslovak Inspectorate General (CIG) in London for an administrative role and was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander.

W/Cmdr Evžen Čížek, with a group of 310 Sqn pilots.

The Czechoslovak Inspectorate General (CIG) was the headquarters of Czechoslovak Air Force within the RAF based in London led by AVM RNDr Karel Janoušek, KCB. The purpose of this unit was the command of all Czechoslovak RAF units and also serves as a liaison point between British Air Ministry and Czechoslovak units and airmen. The unit was staffed mainly by Czechoslovak RAF Officers, who having completed their operation tour, would undertake CIG duties during their six months rest period before resuming operational flying. One of the unit’s duties was attending the funeral of fallen Czechoslovak RAF airmen.

AVM RNDr Karel Janoušek with some of his CIG officers.

The Crash :

On 26 November 1942, Evžen, now at the rank of Group Captain, and S/Ldr Josef Jaške, now also with the CIG, were determined to attend the funeral of Sgt František Remeš who had been killed in a training accident with 53 OTU and was to be buried in Llanvit Cemetery near RAF St Athan in South Wales.

The weather was very bad, with visibility below 500 mtrs. The decision to fly, instead of taking the train, was made because the railway had been damaged by bombing. With S/Ldr Josef Jaške at the controls of a Foster-Wickner Warferry aircraft, ES947 G-AFKU and G/Cpt Čížek as passenger, they took-off in poor visibility in clouds. At 11:45, having just passed the Port of Cardiff, the aircraft was at an altitude of 1,000 mtrs and hit a barrage-balloon cable over Penarth Point, that tore off the propeller and became embedded in the right wing. The plane went into a corkscrew dive and crashed into the Bristol Channel, off Cardiff harbour. G/C Čížek was killed by the impact with the balloon cable and S/Ldr Josef Jaškef was thrown, without a parachute, from the plane, landing in the sea of the Bristol Channel. He survived the impact but his spine was broken, and he needed many months of recuperation.

Interment of Group Captain Evžen Čížek, Brookwood 30 November 1942.

Group Captain Evžen Čížek was buried on 30 November 1942, in grave 28. B. 1., at the Czechoslovak section at CWGC Brookwood Military cemetery.


Medals:

British :

1939 – 45 Star with Battle of Britain clasp

Czechoslovakia :

Válečný kříž 1939

Za zásluhy I.stupně

Pamětní medaile se štítky F–VB

France:

Légion d‘Honneur au grade de Chevalier

Croix de Guerre avec 2 palmes et 5 etoiles de vermeil

Remembered :

Czech Republic :

Prague – Klárov:

In November 2017, his name, along with the names of 2507 other Czechoslovak men and women who had served in the RAF during WW2, was unveiled at the Winged Lion Monument at Klárov, Prague.

Great Britain :

He is commemorated, along with the other 2938 Battle of Britain aircrew, on the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall at the National Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, Kent:


He is also commemorated on the London Battle of Britain Memorial:

Posted in 312 Sqd, Battle of Britain, Biography, France, Not Forgotton, Other RAF Squadrons | 1 Comment

311 Squadron RAF


82nd Anniversary


29th July 2022

the 82nd Anniversary

of the formation of

311 Squadron

in the Royal Air Force.



_______________________________________________________________

A history of the squadron in RAF Bomber Command here,

and in RAF Coastal Command here.

_______________________________________________________________

Posted in 311 Sqd, Anniversary, Not Forgotton | Leave a comment

Frantisek Bernard – One of the Few




František BERNARD




One of the Few

…………….* 23.07.1914, Starý Ehrenberky.

…………….† 17.06.1980, New Zealand.







Pre WW2:

František Antonín Bernard was born on 23 July 1914 in the village of Starý Ehrenberky, formerly Alt Ehrenberg, near Šluknov in the Děčín District in the Ústí nad Labem Region of North Eastern region of Czechoslovkia. He was the son of Franz Anton Bernard and wifeAntonia. After five years of schooling in the town school he continued his education for a further three years of higher education at the Municipal school. On graduation he began training as an aircraft mechanic.

Czechoslovak Air Force:

At Prostějov, 1937.

In 1936 František joined the NCO Military Aviation School at Chleb for training to become an aircraft mechanic. The following year he was selected for pilot training and transferred to the Military Aviation Academy at Prostějov for elementary flying instruction.

František successfully completed that course in 1937 and was selected for fighter pilot training and sent to the Military Academy at Hradce Králove. By the time of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, in March 1939, he had been promoted to the rank of desátnik [Corporal] and had achieved 269 flying hours experience.

At Hradec Kralove, 1937.

To Poland:

After the German occupation, the Czechoslovak military was quickly disbanded by the Germans and all personnel dismissed. For the military personnel and many patriotic Czech citizens, this was a degrading period. Many wanted to redress this shame and humiliation and sought the liberation of their homeland. Germanisation of Bohemia and Moravia began immediately. But by 19 March 1939, former senior officers of the now-disbanded Czechoslovak military had started to form an underground army, known as Obrana Národa [Defence of the Nation]. One of their objectives was to assist as many airmen and soldiers as possible to get to neighbouring Poland where Ludvík Svoboda, a former distinguished Czechoslovak Legionnaire from WW1, was planning the formation of Czechoslovak military units to fight for the liberation of their homeland. Within Czechoslovakia, former military personnel and civilian patriots covertly started to arrange for former Air Force and Army personnel to be voluntarily smuggled over the border into Poland to join these newly-formed Czechoslovak units.

Having been denied the chance to resist the occupying Germans, František was one of the many Czechoslovak airmen and soldiers who saw it was their duty to go to Poland from where they could fight to achieve the liberation of Czechoslovakia. Usually, this was by crossing the border from the Ostrava region because of the close proximity of the ‘new’ Polish border since Poland had occupied the Český Těšín region of Czechoslovakia on 10 October 1939.

Once in Poland, they then reported to the Czechoslovak Consulate in Krakow and were sent to Bronowice Małe, a now derelict former Polish Army barracks from the Austro-Hungarian era, on the outskirts of Krakow which was then being utilised as a temporary transit camp for the escaped Czechoslovak military and was already well inhabited with them.

Czechoslovak escapees at Bronowice Małe Summer, 1939.

Disappointment in Poland:

However, at this time, the Polish Authorities, whilst recognising the new puppet State of Slovakia, showed little interest in the Czechoslovak military who were escaping across their border in groups and would not allow independent Czechoslovak units to be established on its territory as they were concerned about antagonising neighbouring Nazi Germany. Only after lengthy negotiations between Czechoslovak Diplomats in France and Great Britain, and the French Government, did the French agree to admit 4,000 Czechoslovaks into the French Foreign Legion – French law did not allow for foreign military units to be on its territory in peacetime, and the Czechoslovak escapers would be required to join the French Foreign Legion for a five-year period with the agreement that, should war be declared, they would be transferred to French military units. The alternative was to be returned to occupied Czechoslovakia and face German retribution for escaping – usually imprisonment or execution with further retribution to their families.

Next onto France:

On 25 July 1939, František and 189 other Czechoslovak military escapees were taken by train to the Baltic port of Gydnia, Poland. The following day they boarded the ‘SS Kastelholm’ and sailed to Calais, France. Part of the voyage down the Baltic Sea was very rough, even to airmen who were used to flying in turbulent conditions, and so the ‘SS Kastelholm’ stop at the Danish port of Frederikshaven to re-supply was a welcome relief for the Czechoslovaks onboard. After a five-day voyage, they arrived in Calais on 31 July 1939.

SS Kastelholm.

France:

Initially, František and his fellow escapees were transferred to Place Ballard, the Foreign Legion’s recruitment depot at Paris, to undergo medical checks, whilst the necessary documentation was prepared for their enlistment into the Legion. During this time they attended French classes and any free time was usually spent in Paris exploring the sights and practising their newly-learnt French with the girls they met. František was accepted to join the Legion on 24 August 1939 at the rank of Soldat, but before arrangements were completed to transfer the Czechoslovaks to the Legion’s training base at Sidi bel Abbes, Algeria, war was declared and instead František and the other Czechoslovak airmen were transferred to the l’Armée de l’Air at their recruitment centre at Dugny, near Paris. On 10 September, at the rank of Soldat, he was transferred to Centre d’Instruction de Chasse at Chartres, the l’Armée de l’Air training airbase, about 50 miles South-West of Paris, for retraining on French equipment, firstly on the Potez XXV and Morane-Saulnier MS.230 elementary trainers and then the Morane-Saulnier MS-406c fighter aircraft

France 1940.

The Germans commenced their invasion on Western Europe on 10 May 1940, by invading Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and then moving Westwards into France. By this time František had completed 38 flying hours in training at Chartres, but with the now urgent need for operational fighter pilots to defend France, he and fellow Czechoslovaks, Stanislav Plzák, Karel Šeda and Josef Hýbler were was posted to GC II/2, at Chissey, on 13 May, which was equipped with ME-406C aircraft. The following day they were joined by Bohumír Fürst.

However, the rapid advance of the German forces during the Battle for France meant that GC II/2 was constantly having to re-locate westwards to avoid capture; to Feurs on 15 June, St Etienne-Boutéon on 16 June, St Symphorien d’Ozon on 17 June and Montpellier-Fréjorques on 23 June, then to Perpignan.

Following the capitulation of France the Czechoslovak airmen in GC II/2 were released from their l’Armee d’Air service, on 21 June, and travelled by coach to Port Vendres about 190 km away near the Spanish border, for evacuation. There they boarded the ‘General Chanzy’ which sailed on 24 June 1940 to Oran, Algeria. From there they went by train to Casablanca, Morocco where they were able to board the ship ‘ Gib-el-Ders’ which took them to Gibraltar. Here they transferred to the ‘Neuralia’ which sailed in a convoy of 30 ships to England, arriving at Liverpool on 12 July 1940.

RAF:

From Liverpool, the Czechoslovaks were transferred to their tented transit camp in the grounds of Cholmondeley Castle, near Chester. The Battle of Britain was now in progress and there was an urgent need for fighter pilots. As a trained pilot he was quickly transferred to the Czechoslovak RAF Depot, Cosford, where, on 6 August 1940, he was admitted to the Volunteer Reserve of the RAF, with the rank of Sgt, and began his RAF training and also English language classes. On 6 August 1940, František was posted to the newly-formed 310 (Czechoslovak) Sqn at Duxford training on Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft. When 310 (Czechoslovak) Sqn became operational on 17 August, no aircraft were available for further training flights and so the squad of 20 semi-trained pilots, including František, were posted to 6 OTU to complete their Hurricane training.

In the RAF.

He completed his re-training on 10 September and was posted, with fellow Czechoslovak Rudolf Roháček to 601 (County of London) Sqn which was equipped with Hurricane Mk Is and were stationed at Exeter. With 601 Sqn, on 17 September 1940. he made his first operational flight in the Battle of Britain, taking-off at 13.55 in Hurricane V6630, the flight lasting just 30 minutes with no enemy sighted.

On the 28 October František and Roháček were was posted to 238 Sqn at Middle Wallop, which was also equipped with Hurricane MkIs. Whilst there he achieved his first ‘kill’; a half share, with F/Lt Morris, of a Ju88, from II/KG 77, shot down near Arundel, West Sussex, at 12:30 on 23 March 1941.

Returning to base, František saw a Heinkel He 111 and fired a burst from his machine guns, but it managed to escaped into cloud.

Date:

Time:

Hurricane:

Action:

23.03.41

12:30

½ share with F/Lt Morris of a Ju88, from II/KG 77, shot down near Poling, West Sussex.

10.06.41.

10:30

Z2662, GZ-

½ share of a He 111 H, from Wekusta 51, shot down into the Irish Sea off Carnsore Point

On 1 May 1941 he was posted to 32 Sqn which was stationed at Angle, in South Wales, and equipped with Hurricane MkIIa fighter aircraft. With 32 Sqn, František achieved his 2nd and final ‘kill’ of WW2; a half share of a Heinkel He 111 H, from Wekusta 51, a Luftwaffe Meteorological Reconnaissance Unit, shot down into the Irish Sea off Carnsore Point, near Rosslare, Eire, at 10:30 on 10 June 1941. From his combat report:

I was Black 1 of Black Section 32 Squadron, which took-off from Angle at 0950 hours having been ordered to fly to Linney Head at 25,000 feet. When over Linney Head we were vectored on a course of 330°. We flew on this course for about 10 minutes and where then ordered to reduce height to 20,000 feet. After another few minutes we were informed by the controller that there was a bandit 20 miles South of us flying East at 10,000 feet. We then changed course to the South East and reduced height to 10,000 feet. After 5 minutes we sighted Bandit 5 miles to the South-West of us flying East at about 12,000 feet. I identified the e/a as a Ju 88, and having informed Black 2 I went into the attack. I climbed to 12,000 and turning in order to get the sun behind me I made a starboard quarter attack. I opened fire at a distance of 360 yards closing to 200 yards firing a 5 second burst. I noticed a small amount of smoke issuing from the port engine of e/a which then turned NW in the direction of the Irish Coast. I broke away and made a starboard beam attack, firing a short burst of 2 seconds frpm 300 yards closing to 250 yards. I then broke away to make another starboard beam attack again firing a short 2 second burst from 300 yards closing to 250 yards. During this attack I noticed my bullets striking along the fuselage and starboard wing of the e/a. After breaking away from this attack I observed Black 2 make a diving quarter attack which set e/a’s starboard engine on fire. I saw Black 2 break away and down from e/a and watched him until Black 2 pulled out of his dive, and commence to climb again in the direction of the e/a.

I then made an astern attack from 300 yards closing to 200 yards firing a 5 second burst which exhausted my ammunition. I saw several small objects fly from fuselage and port wing of e/a, which was then gradually loosing height. It appeared to be endeavouring to make a landing on he sea near the Irish coast but eventually crashed approx 100 yards inland about ½ mile north of Carnsere Point, whereupon it exploded and disintegrated. I climbed and called Black 2 three times without reply. I then returned and landed at Angle at 1107 hours.

I claim 1 Junkers 88 destroyed: one half by myself, and one half by F/O Remy (Black 2).

Unfortunately František’s wingman F/O Maurice Remy (Black 2), a Frenchman whose real name was Lt Roger Emile Motte was lost in this combat. His Spitfire made a forced landing in neutral Eire and was interned. He was released in October 1943, and posted to 345 Sqn.

Whilst returning from a night patrol in Hurricane Z5222,GZ-N, on of 25 August 1941, František was unable to return to his home base at Fairwood Common because of poor weather conditions and was diverted to Angle airfield, Pembrey. The flare path at Angle airfield was still under construction. On landing in the dark, at 21:45, his aircraft hit a steam roller which had been parked just seven yards from the edge of the runway. No blame was attached to František for this crash.

Hurricane Z5222 crash.

On completion of his operational tour, he was posted on 18 October 1941,to the Central Flying School for a flying instructor course. His next posting, on 13 December 1941, was to No 6 Operational Training Unit (6 OTU) as a flying instructor.

Commissioned :

He received his commission, at the rank of P/O, on 9 April 1942 and on 8 June 1942 he was posted to No 3 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) at Shellingford, again for flying instructor duties.

František returned to operational flying on 6 August 1942 with 313 (Czechoslovak) Sqn until 22 June 1943 and was promoted to the rank of F/O on 9 October 1942. From 22 June 1943, he was posted to 1648 Flight until 16 March 1944 when, at his new rank of F/Lt, his final RAF rank, he was posted to No 1684 (Bomber) Defence Training Flight at RAF Little Horwood, Bucks. There, equipped with Tomahawk aircraft he simulated aerial battles to train new bomber crews.

With No 1684 (Bomber) Defence Training Flight at RAF Little Horwood, September 1943.

On 5 May 1944 he was posted to HQ 19 Fighter Group as a temporary Liaison Officer with the Czechoslovak Inspectorate General (CIG). On 22 May 1944, František returned to operational flying when he was posted to 310 (Czechoslovak) Sqn, now stationed at Appledram, Sussex, as Flight Commander of ‘B’ Flight which was in preparation for D-Day. He remained with 310 (Czechoslovak) Sqn until the end of the war.

On 2 March 1945, 310 Sqn participated in Ramrod 1479, the escorting Lancaster and Halifax bombers for a raid on Cologne. František was flying Spitfire MH372, NN-S. On the return flight, due to lack of fuel he had to land at B-65 a temporary airfield at Maldeghem – 20 km north of Bruges. On landing at 11:17 his aircraft was caught in a strong cross-wind, causing the left undercarriage leg to be damaged, resulting category AC damage.

František with fellow Czechoslovak pilots, waiting to return to Czechoslovakia, Manston, Summer 1945.

Post WW2 :

He returned to Czechoslovakia in August 1945, at the Czechoslovak Air Force rank of poručík (P/O). František remained in that service until the following February when he was demobbed, at the rank of nadporučík (F/O), and returned to civilian life.

Escape from Communism :

Following the Communist take-over of Czechoslovakia in February 1948, a friend who was a Police Officer warned him that his name was on a list of former RAF airmen who were due to be arrested.

Taking the hint, with fellow former RAF airman Vojtěch Smolík, he escaped on foot over the border into the American Zone of Germany. After security vetting by the American authorities, he was transferred to a Displaced Persons Camp in Germany whilst he considered his future life in the West. He decided to return to England where he was able to re-join the RAF in 1950.

With Vojtěch Smolík, left, at Displaced Persons camp in American Zone of Germany.

Rejoining the RAF :

He was posted to Kenya in response to the Mau Mau Uprising – a colonial war – there and for distinguished flying in that conflict was Mentioned in Dispatches, on 6 March 1953. Subsequently, on 1 January 1957, during the same conflict he was awarded the Air Force Cross. He retired from the RAF, with the rank of F/Lt on 23 July 1964 and emigrated to New Zealand.

Unfortunately little of his life in New Zealand is known, only that he died there on 17 June 1980.

Medals :

British :

1939 – 45 Star with Battle of Britain clasp

Air Crew Europe Star with Atlantic clasp

Defence Medal

War Medal

Czechoslovakia :

Válečný kříž 1939 and 4 bars

Za chrabrost and 2 bars

Za zásluhy I.stupně

Pamětní medaile se štítky F–VB

France:

Croix de Guerre avec Palme

Remembered :

Czech Republic :

Prague – Klárov:

In November 2017, his name, along with the names of 2507 other Czechoslovak men and women who had served in the RAF during WW2, was unveiled at the Winged Lion Monument at Klárov, Prague.

Staré Křečany :

Žatec :

Great Britain :

He is commemorated, along with the other 2938 Battle of Britain aircrew, on the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall at the National Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne, Kent:


He is also commemorated on the London Battle of Britain Memorial:

Posted in 310 Sqd, 313 Sqd, Battle of Britain, Biography, Into exile, Not Forgotton, Other RAF Squadrons, Victim of Communism | 1 Comment

Remembering the Czechoslovak 88 of the Battle of Britain

On 10 July, the 82nd anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain.

2938 Allied airmen flow in that battle which was from 10 July 1940 to 31 October 1940, 88 of whom were Czechoslovak pilots. The names of all these Allied airmen are commemorated on on the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall

By 31 October 1940, the last day of that Battle, 544 of those airmen had been killed, eight of them were Czechoslovaks.

 

 

 

AMBRUŠ, Ján P/O
310 Sqn

 

 

BARTOŠ, Jindřich P/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

BERGMAN, Václav P/O
C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

BERNARD, František Sgt
C de G
238, 60 Sqns

 

 

BREJCHA, Václav Sgt
43 Sqn

 

 

BURDA, František P/O
C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

CHÁBERA, František Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

ČÍŽEK, Evžen P/O
C de G
1 Sqn

 

 

CUKR, Václav Sgt
C de G
253 Sqn

 

 

DOLEŽAL, František P/O
C de G
1 Sqn

 

 

DUDA, Josef F/Lt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

DVOŘÁK, Alois Sgt
310 Sqn

 

 

DYGRÝN, Josef Sgt
85, 1 Sqns

 

 

FAJTL, František P/O
C de G
1, 17 Sqns

 

 

FECHTNER Emil P/O
DFC
310 Sqn
† 29/10/40

 

 

FEJFAR, Stanislav P/O
C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

FOGLAR, Václav Sgt
245 Sqn

 

 

FOIT, Emil P/O
85, 310 Sqns

 

 

FRANTIŠEK, Josef Sgt
DFM and bar, C de G
303 Sqn
† 08/10/40

 

 

FÜRST, Bohuslav Sgt
310, 605 Sqns

 

 

GÖTH, Vilém, P/O
510, 310 Sqn
† 25/10/40

 

 

HANUŠ, Josef Jan P/O
C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

HANZLÍČEK, Otto Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn
† 10/10/40

 

 

HESS, Alexander S/Ldr
DFC, C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

HIMR, Jaroslav P/O
56, 310 Sqns

 

 

HLAVÁČ, Jaroslav Sgt
C de G
310, 56 Sqns
† 10/10/40

 

 

HLOBIL, Alois P/O
C de G
312, 238 Sqns

 

 

HORSKÝ, Vladimír Sgt
310, 238 Sqns
† 26/09/40

 

 

HRADIL, František P/O
310, 19 Sqns

 

 

HRUBÝ, Otakar Sgt
C de G
111 Sqn

 

 

HUBÁČEK, Josef Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

HÝBLER, Josef P/O
310 Sqn

 

 

JANOUCH, Svatopluk P/O
C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

JAŠKE, Josef P/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

JÍCHA, Václav Sgt
C de G
310, 1 Sqns

 

 

JIROUDEK, Miroslav F/Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

KAŇA [Kania], Jozef F/Sgt
303 Sqn

 

 

KAUCKÝ, Jan Sgt
310 Sqn

 

 

KEPRT, Josef Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

KESTLER, Oldřich Sgt
111 Sqn

 

 

KOMÍNEK, Josef Sgt
310 Sqn

 

 

KOPECKÝ, Miroslav Sgt
C de G
310, 111 Sqns

 

 

KOPŘIVA, Josef Sgt
310 Sqn

 

 

KÖRBER, Karel Sgt
32 Sqn

 

 

KORDULA, František P/O
310, 1, 17 Sqns

 

 

KOUKAL, Josef Sgt
310 Sqn

 

 

KRÁTKORUKÝ, Bedřich Sgt
1 Sqn

 

 

KREDBA, Miroslav P/O
310 Sqn

 

 

KUČERA, Jaroslav Sgt
245 Sqn

 

 

KUČERA, Jiří V. Sgt
C de G
310, 238 Sqns

 

 

KUČERA, Otmar Sgt
111 Sqn

 

 

KUTTELWASCHER, Karel Sgt
C de G
1 Sqn

 

 

MACHÁČEK, Jiří P/O
310, 145 Sqns

 

 

MALÝ, Jaroslav F/Lt
310 Sqn

 

 

MANSFELD, Miloslav Sgt
111 Sqn

 

 

MAREK, František Sgt
C de G
310, 19 Sqns
† 14/09/40

 

 

MRÁZEK, Karel P/O
310, 43, 46 Sqns

 

 

PAVLŮ, Otto Sgt
1 Sqn

 

 

PÍPA, Josef Sgt
43 Sqn

 

 

PLZÁK, Stanislav Sgt
C de G
310, 19 Sqns

 

 

PRCHAL, Eduard Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

PŘÍHODA, Josef Sgt
1 Sqn

 

 

PTÁČEK, Rudolf Sgt
43 Sqn

 

 

PŮDA, Raimund Sgt
310, 605 Sqns

 

 

ŘECHKA, Josef Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

ROHÁČEK, Rudolf P/O
310, 601, 238 Sqns

 

 

RYPL, František P/O
310 Sqn

 

 

ŠEDA, Karel Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

ŠIKA, Jaroslav Sgt
C de G
43 Sqn

 

 

ŠLOUF, Václav Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

ŠTEFAN, Jan Sgt
1 Sqn

 

 

STEHLÍK, Josef Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

ŠTĚRBÁČEK, Jaroslav P/O
310 Sqn
† 31/08/40

 

 

STŘIHAVKA, Jaromír Sgt
85, 310 Sqns

 

 

TRUHLÁŘ, Jan Sgt
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

VAŠÁTKO, Alois F/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

VELEBNOVSKÝ, Antonín P/O
85, 1 Sqns

 

 

VESELÝ, Vlastimil P/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

VINDIŠ, František Sgt
310 Sqn

 

 

VOPÁLECKÝ, Josef Sgt
C de G
310 Sqn

 

 

VRÁNA, Adolf P/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

VYBÍRAL, Tomáš P/O
C de G
312 Sqn

 

 

VYKOUKAL, Karel P/O
C de G
310, 111, 73 Sqns

 

 

WEBER, František P/O
310, 145 Sqns

 

 

ZAORAL, Vladimír P/O
310, 501 Sqns

 

 

ZAVORAL, Antonín Sgt
310, 151, 1 Sqns

 

 

ZIMA, Rudolf P/O
310 Sqn

 

 

ZIMPRICH, Stanislav P/O
310 Sqn

_______________________________________________________________

Posted in 310 Sqd, 312 Sqd, Battle of Britain, Information | 4 Comments

310 Sqn – 82nd Anniversary

82nd Anniversary

10th July 2022

the

82nd Anniversary

of the

formation of 310 Squadron

the first Czechoslovak Squadron

in the Royal Air Force.

Posted in 310 Sqd, Anniversary | 1 Comment

Remembering the 115

The London Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park, London, commemorates the 55,573 Allied airmen who lost their lives whilst serving with RAF Bomber Command during WW2.

Of these 115, were Czechoslovak and were remembered by volunteers from FCAFA.

Whilst the majority of that 115 Czechoslovak loss where from 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, when the squadron was deployed in Bomber Command while based at Honnington and East Wreatham, between 29 July 1940 to 18 April 1942, a few others flew with Britsh RAF squadrons.

_______________________________________________________________

Those 115 Czechoslovak airmen are:

ALBRECHT Josef, Sgt.

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 25, his Wellington N2771, hit barrage balloon at 21:45 and crashed near Bentley Priory, Middx with no survivors. Grave at Harrow [Pinner] New cemetery, London.

BABÁČEK Pavel Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 20/07/41, aged 26, his Wellington KX-F R1371 shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 30 on the Runnymede Memorial.

BABÍČEK Zdeněk Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 15/09/41, aged 21, his Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. Grave at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

BAMBUŠEK Jaroslav LAC,

Fitter II E, 311 Sqn – † 04/04/42, aged 28, killed in a motorcycle crash resulting from a bomb explosion in the immediate vicinity. Grave at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

BAUMRUK Bohuslav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 15/01/41, aged 24, lost in Wellington KX-Y T2519 missing in North Sea following raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 39 on the Runnymede Memorial.

BINDER František Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 04/03/42, aged 27, His Wellington, Z1147, was on a bombing raid on Emden, Germany, killed during an attack by a Luftwaffe night fighter. During the attack, he was seriously wounded in the head and stomach and died on the return flight from Emden. The Wellington landed safely back at East Wretham and his grave is at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

BLÁHA Oldřich Dennis, F/O,

Bomb Aimer, 44 Sqn. – † 02/01/44, aged 21, Lancaster, KM-C, W4831, shot down and crashed 30 miles south of Berlin at Luckenwalde whilst on a bombing raid on Berlin. Grave at Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery.

BOLFÍK Rudolf Sgt,<

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 15/01/41, aged 27, lost in Wellington KX-Y T2519 missing in North Sea following a bombing raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 39 on the Runnymede Memorial.

BROŽ Jaromír P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 17/01/42, aged 25, his Wellington, T2971, was on a bombing raid on Bremen, flak above the target damaged the aircraft causing it to crash near Tilburg, Holland. His grave is at Gilzerbaan General cemetery, Tilburg, Holland.

CIBULKA Josef P/O,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 12/03/42, aged 28, his Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to icing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 68 on the Runnymede Memorial.

ČTVRTLÍK Jan Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 27/07/41, aged 23, Wellington KX-F R1371 shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 42 on the Runnymede Memorial.

DANIHELKA Karel Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 26, his Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 81 on the Runnymede Memorial.

DITTRICH František K. P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 23/10/41, aged 24, his Wellington T2624 crashed into the Irish Sea, off Cardigan Bay, during a training flight. His body was recovered and cremated. After WW2 the urn was repatriated back to Czechoslovakia.

DOLEJŠ Adolf Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/41, aged 26, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. He is buried at Devizes Road cemetery, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

DUŠEK František Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 25/05/41, aged 20, his Wellington N3010 crashed at the start of a training flight at Langham, Norfolk. His grave is at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

FÍNA Jiří Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 2/03/42, aged 28, Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to icing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 83 on the Runnymede Memorial.

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 22, Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on a bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 85 on the Runnymede Memorial.

HAPALA Richard P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/41, aged 22, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. He is buried at Devizes Road cemetery, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

HAVLÍK Oldřich Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 14/05/42, aged 25, his Wellington Z1098 was damaged by flak over the target on a bombing raid on Dortmund, on the return flight was shot down by a Luftwaffe Me110 over Holland and crashed near Boshoven, northwest of Weert. He is buried at Woensel General Cemetery, near Eindhoven, Holland.

HEJNA Jan Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 23/06/41, aged 26, his Wellington KX-T T2990 returning from a bombing raid on Bremen shot down by night fighter over the North Sea 20 km West of Petten, Holland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 36 on the Runnymede Memorial.

In 2021, the crash site was excavated by a recovery team from the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and human remains of the five aircrew were found in the recovered wreckage. The remains of the five airmen were interred at CWGC Bergen op Zoom, cemetery, Holland in one casket on 23 June 2022 – the 80th anniversary of the crash.

HELMA Oldřich Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/41, aged 25, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. He is buried at Devizes Road cemetery, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

HRADIL Bohuslav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 26, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

HRDINA Josef F/Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 11/04/42, aged 30, his Wellington KX-Z, Z8838, was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter while returning from a bombing raid on Essen. Aircraft crashed 4.5 km east of Kolhorn, Holland. All the crew were killed and initially buried at Middenmeer, Holland, five in a communal grave and one in a separate grave. In 2004 the remains were re-interred at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

HUDEC Josef F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 15/01/41, aged 28, lost in Wellington KX-Y, T2519, missing in the North Sea following a raid on Wilhelmshaven. He is remembered on panel 30 on the Runnymede Memorial.

HURT Karel Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 23/10/41, aged 24, Wellington T2624 crashed on a training flight into the Irish Sea, off Cardigan, Wales. His body was never recovered and is He is remembered on panel 45 on the Runnymede Memorial.

JANČA František Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 19, Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on a bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 86 on the Runnymede Memorial.

JANOUŠEK Jiří Sgt,

Air Gunner 311 Sqn – † 16/12/40, aged 23, his Wellington KX-Q, T2577, crashed at East Wretham on take-off for a bombing raid on Mannheim, Germany. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

JANŮJ Otakar Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 23/10/41, aged 28, Wellington T2624 crashed on a training flight into the Irish Sea, off Cardigan, Wales. His body was never recovered and he is remembered on panel 46 on the Runnymede Memorial.

JARNOT Alois Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 15/09/41, aged 23, Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. He is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

JAROŠEK Hubert P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 30, Wellington bomber KX-T, L7844, whilst on a bombing raid to Keil, shot down at 21:25 by a Luftwaffe night fighter. Aircraft crashed at Doornspijk, southwest of Oosterwelde, Holland. He is buried at Oosterwolde General cemetery, Oldebroek, Holland.

JINDRA Miroslav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 20/07/41, aged 25, Wellington KX-F R1371 shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover, Germany. The aircraft crashed into the Waddenzee, Holland. He is buried at Uithuizermeeden General Cemetery, Holland.

JIRSÁK Otto Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 33, Wellington bomber KX-T, L7844, whilst on a bombing raid to Keil, shot down at 21:25 by a Luftwaffe night fighter. Aircraft crashed at Doornspijk, southwest of Oosterwelde, Holland. He is buried at Oosterwolde General cemetery, Oldebroek, Holland.

KALENSKÝ Josef F/Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 11/04/42, aged 25, his Wellington KX-Z, Z8838, was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter while returning from a bombing raid on Essen. Aircraft crashed 4.5 km east of Kolhorn, Holland. All the crew were killed and initially buried at Middenmeer, Holland, five in a communal grave and Josef KALENSKÝ in a separate grave. In 2004 the remains were re-interred at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

KLIMT Karel Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 28, Wellington bomber KX-T, L7844, whilst on a bombing raid to Keil, shot down at 21:25 by a Luftwaffe night fighter. Aircraft crashed at Doornspijk, southwest of Oosterwelde, Holland. He is buried at Oosterwolde General cemetery, Oldebroek, Holland.

KODEŠ Karel Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 11/04/42, aged 21, his Wellington KX-Z, Z8838, was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter while returning from a bombing raid on Essen. Aircraft crashed 4.5 km east of Kolhorn, Holland. All the crew were killed and initially buried at Middenmeer, Holland, Karel KODEŠ and four others in a communal grave and one in a separate grave. In 2004 the remains were re-interred at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

KONŠTACKÝ Vilém P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn. – † 03/06/41, aged 26, Wellington KX-T T2990 returning from a bombing raid on Bremen, Germany, shot down by night fighter over the North Sea 20 km West of Petten, Holland. His body was never recovered and he is remembered on panel 33 on the Runnymede Memorial.

In 2021, the crash site was excavated by a recovery team from the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and human remains of the five aircrew were found in the recovered wreckage. The remains of the five airmen were interred at CWGC Bergen op Zoom, cemetery, Holland in one casket on 23 June 2022 – the 80th anniversary of the crash.

KORMANOVIČ Imrich Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 03/03/42, aged 40, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

KOŠULIČ Václav P/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 17/04/41, aged 25, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

KOTRCH Jan Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 24, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

KOUKOL František Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 01/10/40, aged 25, his Wellington R9649 crashed at Elton, Peterborough during a training flight. He is buried at Eastfield cemetery, Peterborough.

KRÁČMER František Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 17/04/41, aged 24, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

KRÁL Čeněk Vincenc Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 21/01/42, aged 21, his Wellington KX-D DV515 lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 87 on the Runnymede Memorial.

KRÁL Jaromír Oldřich P/O,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 15/01/41, aged 27, lost in Wellington KX-Y T2519 missing in North Sea following raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 33 on the Runnymede Memorial.

KŘIVDA Jan Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 16/12/40, aged 27, his Wellington KX-Q, T2577, crashed at East Wretham on take-off for a bombing raid on Mannheim, Germany. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

KUBÍČEK Vladimír F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn. – † 17/04/41, aged 27, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

KUBIZŇÁK Antonín P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 15/01/41, aged 29, lost in Wellington KX-Y T2519 missing in North Sea following raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 30 on the Runnymede Memorial.

KULA Jaroslav F/Lt,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 12/03/42, aged 27, Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to icing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 66 on the Runnymede Memorial.

KUŇKA Karel Sgt,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 25/09/40, aged 27, Wellington L7788 damaged by flak above target, whilst on a bombing raid on Berlin, Germany. Aircraft crashed South of Gravenhage, Holland. He survived the crash but shot himself with a flare pistol rather than be captured. His grave is at The Hague [Westduin] General cemetery, The Hague, Holland.

LANČÍK [Lanczik] Jaroslav Sgt,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/4, aged 20, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. After WW2 his remains were repatriated back to Czechoslovakia.

LANDA Bohumil P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 43, Wellington bomber KX-T, L7844, whilst on a bombing raid to Keil, shot down at 21:25 by a Luftwaffe night fighter. Aircraft crashed at Doornspijk, southwest of Oosterwelde, Holland. He is buried at Oosterwolde General cemetery, Oldebroek, Holland.

LANG Karel Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 17/10/40, aged 24, his Wellington L7786, crashed near Coddenham, Suffolk, during a training flight. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

LESKAUER Jindřich P/O

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 15/01/41, aged 23, lost in Wellington KX-Y T2519 missing in the North Sea following a bombing raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 33 on the Runnymede Memorial.

LIEBOLD Jindřich AC2,

Interpreter, 311 Sqn – † 05/01/41, aged 19, killed in an air raid on East Wretham. He is burie at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

LIFČIC [LIFCZIZ] Rudolf Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 17/04/41, aged 30, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

LINKA Stanislav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 16/11/41, aged 26, Wellington KX-E Z8966 damaged by flak during a bombing raid on Keil, Germany. On return flight crashed in Irish Sea, 20 km South West off St Bees Head, Cumberland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 47 on the Runnymede Memorial.

MAREŠ Jiří Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 17/07/41, aged 25, his Wellington KX-N, R1718, was shot down at 00:50 by by a Luftwaffe Me110 on a bombing raid to Hamburg, Germany. The Wellington crashed in the Zuiderzee off the island of Ijsselmeer 5km west of Lemmer, Holland. He was killed in the crash and is buried at Lemmer General Cemetery, Lemsterland, Holland.

MAŠEK Rudolf Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 17/01/42, aged 23, his Wellington, T2971, was on a bombing raid on Bremen, flak above the target damaged the aircraft causing it to crash near Tilburg, Holland. His grave is at Gilzerbaan General cemetery, Tilburg, Holland.

MATOUŠEK Jaroslav P/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 25, Wellington N2771, hit barrage balloon at 21:45 and crashed near Bentley Priory, Middx with no survivors. Grave at Harrow [Pinner] New cemetery, London.

MEZNÍK Alois Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 12/03/42, aged 30, Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to icing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 89 on the Runnymede Memorial.

MIKLOŠEK Ján Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 15/09/41, aged 25, Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. Grave at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

MOHR Josef F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn. – † 02/01/42, aged 29, his Wellington KX-B T2553 lost in the North Sea, off the Dutch coast, following a raid on Wilhelmshaven. He survived the crash but died from exposure in a dinghy during the six days at sea. He is buried at Bergen General Cemetery, Bergen, Holland.

NĚMEČEK Ladislav Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 21/01/42, aged 24, his Wellington KX-D DV515 lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 90 on the Runnymede Memorial.

NETÍK Václav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 20/07/41, aged 30, Wellington KX-F, R1371, shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover, Germany. He is buried at Oldebroek General cemetery, Oldebroek, Holland.

PAROLEK Jan František F/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 16/11/41, aged 24, Wellington KX-E Z8966 damaged by flak on a bombing raid on Keil, on return flight crashed in the Irish Sea, 20 km SW off St Bees Head, Cumberland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 30 on the Runnymede Memorial.

PARTYK Jaroslav P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 20/07/41, aged 30, Wellington KX-F R1371 shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover. He is buried at Sage War Cemetery, Oldenburg, Germany.

PEPRNÍČEK Jan Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 11/04/42, aged 22, his Wellington KX-Z, Z8838, was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter while returning from a bombing raid on Essen. Aircraft crashed 4.5 km east of Kolhorn, Holland. All the crew were killed and initially buried at Middenmeer, Holland, five in a communal grave and one in a separate grave. In 2004 the remains were re-interred at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

PETRUCHA Jaroslav Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/41, aged 20, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. He is buried at Devizes Road cemetery, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

PLECITÝ Miroslav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 21/01/42, aged 29, his Wellington KX-D, DV515, lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 75 on the Runnymede Memorial.

PLOCEK Antonín Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 02/07/41, aged 29, his Wellington R1515 was accidentally shot down by an RAF night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cherbourg. Aircraft crashed at Lower Park Farm at Mere, Wiltshire. He is buried at Devizes Road cemetery, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

PODIVÍNSKÝ Adolf Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 26, Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on a bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 91 on the Runnymede Memorial.

POLEDNÍK Jaroslav Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/10/41, aged 21, his Wellington T2624 crashed into the Irish Sea, off Cardigan Bay, during a training flight. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 50 on the Runnymede Memorial.

POLITZER Maxmilián Sgt,

Pilot, 138 Sqn – † 10/03/42, aged 22, his Whitley NF-A, Z9125, crashed shortly after take-off from Stradishall airfield on an SOE flight, Operation Frensham I, to occupied France. The aircraft caught fire on crashing, killing five of the crew members. His remains were cremated and the urn returned to Czechoslovakia after WW2.

RAISKUP František F/Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 12/03/42, aged 28, Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to icing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 92 on the Runnymede Memorial.

ŘÍHA Ladislav F/Lt,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 25, Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 66 on the Runnymede Memorial.

ROLENC Jaroslav Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 23/10/41, aged 26, his Wellington T2624 crashed on a training flight into the Irish Sea, off Cardigan, Wales. His body was never recovered and is He is remembered on panel 51 on the Runnymede Memorial.

ROUŠ Stanislav Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 21/01/42, aged 23, his Wellington KX-D DV515 lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 92 on the Runnymede Memorial.

ROZUM Alois Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 23/06/41, aged 28, his Wellington KX-T T2990 returning from a bombing raid on Bremen shot down by night fighter over the North Sea 20 km West of Petten, Holland. His body was never found and was commemorated on panel 37 on the Runnymede Memorial.

In 2021, the crash site was excavated by a recovery team from the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and human remains of the five aircrew were found in the recovered wreckage. The remains of the five airmen were interred at CWGC Bergen op Zoom, cemetery, Holland in one casket on 23 June 2022 – the 80th anniversary of the crash.

RYCHNOVSKÝ Karel F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 11/04/42, aged 23, his Wellington KX-Z, Z8838, was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter while returning from a bombing raid on Essen. Aircraft crashed 4.5 km east of Kolhorn, Holland. All the crew were killed and initially buried at Middenmeer, Holland, five in a communal grave and one in a separate grave. In 2004 the remains were re-interred at Bergen op Zoom War Cemetery, Holland.

SEDLÁČEK Mojmír F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 15/09/41, aged 27, his Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. Grave at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

SIXTA František F/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 17/04/41, aged 27, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

SKALICKÝ Rudolf Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 08/12/41, aged 23, his Wellington KX-B T2553 lost in the North Sea, off the Dutch coast, following a raid on Wilhelmshaven. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 52 on the Runnymede Memorial.

SKOŘEPA Zdeněk F/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 24, his Wellington KX-D DV515 lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 66 on the Runnymede Memorial.

SKUTEK Pavel Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 16/11/41, aged 20, Wellington KX-E Z8966 damaged by flak on a bombing raid on Keil, on return flight crashed in the Irish Sea, 20 km SW off St Bees Head, Cumberland.

SKUTIL Jaroslav P/O,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 01/10/40, aged 30, his Wellington R9649 crashed at Elton, Peterborough during a training flight. He is buried at Eastfield cemetery, Peterborough.

SLABÝ Jaroslav P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 25, his Wellington N2771, hit barrage balloon at 21:45 and crashed near Bentley Priory, Middx with no survivors. Grave at Harrow [Pinner] New cemetery, London.

SLOVÁK Josef P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 01/10/40, aged 28, his Wellington R9649 crashed at Elton, Peterborough during a training flight. He is buried at Eastfield cemetery, Peterborough.

SMRČEK Leonard P/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn. – † 23/06/41, aged 25, his Wellington KX-T T2990 returning from a bombing raid on Bremen shot down by night fighter over the North Sea 20 km West of Petten, Holland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 34 on the Runnymede Memorial.

In 2021, the crash site was excavated by a recovery team from the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and human remains of the five aircrew were found in the recovered wreckage. The remains of the five airmen were interred at CWGC Bergen op Zoom, cemetery, Holland in one casket on 23 June 2022 – the 80th anniversary of the crash.

SOUKUP Oldřich Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 12/03/42, aged 21, his Wellington KX-P R1802 crashed in the North Sea due to icing up whilst on a bombing raid to Keil. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 94 on the Runnymede Memorial.

SOUKUP Vilém Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 15/09/41, aged 27, his Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. Grave at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

ŠPINKA Dobromil Sgt,

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 22, his Wellington KX-A Z1167 lost without trace on a bombing raid on Paris. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 81 on the Runnymede Memorial.

ŠTĚTKA Václav Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 17/04/41, aged 26, his Wellington R1599 shot down by Me110 night fighter whilst returning from a bombing raid on Cologne, Germany. Aircraft crashed at 23:39 at Kelpen (Limburg) 9 km South East of Weert, Holland. No survivors from the crash. He is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Nijmegen, Holland.

STOČEK Milan Maxmilián Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 25/05/41, aged 22, Wellington N3010 crashed at the start of a training flight at Langham, Norfolk. His grave is at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

STRACHOŇ Přibyslav Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 22, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

ŠVIC Miloslav P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 04/06/41, aged 24, his Wellington N3010 crashed at the start of a training flight at Langham, Norfolk. His grave is at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

SVOBODA Jindřich Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 17/01/42, aged 24, his Wellington, T2971, was on a bombing raid on Bremen, flak above the target damaged the aircraft causing it to crash near Tilburg, Holland. His grave is at Gilzerbaan General cemetery, Tilburg, Holland.

SVOBODA Josef Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 30, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

TALÁB Josef Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 14/04/42, aged 33, his Wellington Z1098 was damaged by flak over the target on a bombing raid on Dortmund, on the return flight was shot down by a Luftwaffe Me110 over Holland and crashed near Boshoven, northwest of Weert. He is buried at Woensel General Cemetery, near Eindhoven, Holland.

TOLAR Alois P/O,

Navigator, 311 Sqn – † 03/03/42, aged 27, his Wellington Ic, KX-Y Z1070, was shot down near Creil, France, whilst on a bombing raid to Paris. He is buried at Creil Communal Cemetery.

TOMÁNEK Josef Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 02/01/42, aged 23, his Wellington KX-B T2553 lost in the North Sea, off the Dutch coast, following a raid on Wilhelmshaven. He survived the crash but died from exposure in a dinghy during the six days at sea. He is remembered on panel 53 at the Runnymede Memorial.

TOŠOVSKÝ Oldřich Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 17/10/40, aged 23, his Wellington L7786, crashed near Coddenham, Suffolk, during a training flight. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

TOUL Jaromír P/O,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 16/12/40, aged 23, his Wellington KX-Q, T2577, crashed at East Wretham on take-off for a bombing raid on Mannheim, Germany. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

VÁCLAVEK Arnošt Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 16/11/41, aged 24, Wellington KX-E Z8966 damaged by flak during a bombing raid on Keil, Germany. On return flight crashed in Irish Sea, 20 km South West off St Bees Head, Cumberland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 53 on the Runnymede Memorial.

VALACH Karel Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 23/06/41, aged 23, his Wellington KX-T T2990 returning from a bombing raid on Bremen shot down by night fighter over the North Sea 20 km West of Petten, Holland. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 37 on the Runnymede Memorial.

In 2021, the crash site was excavated by a recovery team from the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and human remains of the five aircrew were found in the recovered wreckage. The remains of the five airmen were interred at CWGC Bergen op Zoom, cemetery, Holland in one casket on 23 June 2022 – the 80th anniversary of the crash.

VALENTA Arnošt F/Lt,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 31/03/44, aged 31, Captured when the navigator of his Wellington, L7842, became disorientated and landed in error on a Luftwaffe airfield, near Bolougne, France. All the crew were captured and became prisoners of war. He was one of the 76 Allied airmen who participated in the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III PoW camp in Poland. Shortly after he was captured and was one of the 50 Allied airmen who were executed by the Gestapo in reprisal for that escape. His ashes are interred at the Old Garrison Cemetery, Poznan, Poland.

VALEŠ Václav Sgt,

Air Gunner, 311 Sqn. – † 20/07/41, aged 26, his Wellington KX-F R1371 shot down by night fighter over the North Sea following a bombing raid on Hanover, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 54 on the Runnymede Memorial.

VALOŠEK Oskar Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn. – † 01/10/40, aged 24, his Wellington R9649 crashed at Elton, Peterborough during a training flight. He is buried at Eastfield cemetery, Peterborough.

VARJAN Pavel Sgt,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner, 311 Sqn – † 14/04/42, aged 30, his Wellington Z1098 was damaged by flak over the target on a bombing raid on Dortmund, on the return flight was shot down by a Luftwaffe Me110 over Holland and crashed near Boshoven, northwest of Weert. He is buried at Woensel General Cemetery, near Eindhoven, Holland.

VEJRAŽKA Miloslav P/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 17/10/40, aged 29, his Wellington N2773, KX-X, became iced up whilst returning from a bombing mission to Bremen, Germany. Having managed to reach the UK coast, the Captain, Flt/Lt Josef Šnajdr, ordered the crew to bail-out. He landed safely near East Farm, West Willoughby, Grantham, Lincolnshire, but was accidentally shot dead by a member of the Home Guard. He is buried at All Saints churchyard, Honington, Suffolk.

VESELÝ Jan S/Ldr,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 34, his Wellington N2771, hit barrage balloon at 21:45 and crashed near Bentley Priory, Middx with no survivors. Grave at Harrow [Pinner] New cemetery, London.

WEISS Karel W/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 21/01/42, aged 32, his Wellington KX-D DV515 lost without trace in the North Sea on following a bombing raid to Bremen, Germany. His body was never found and he is commemorated on panel 73 on the Runnymede Memorial.

ZAPLETAL František Sgt,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 16/10/40, aged 30, his Wellington N2771, hit barrage balloon at 21:45 and crashed near Bentley Priory, Middx with no survivors. Grave at Harrow [Pinner] New cemetery, London.

ZEIGLER [Zetland] Jindřich Otto [Henry Osbert] F/O,

Air Gunner, 104 Sqn – † 05/05/44, aged 41, shot down on bombing raid. His grave is at Budapest War Cemetery, Budapest, Hungary.

ZEINERT Stanislav P/O,

Pilot, 311 Sqn – † 26/05/41, aged 25, his Wellington N3010 crashed at the start of a training flight at Langham, Norfolk. His grave is at St. Ethelbert churchyard, East Wretham, Norfolk.

ZIMMER Antonín P/O,

Wireless Operator, 311 Sqn – † 15/09/41, aged 27, his Wellington R1015 shot down by flak over Holland whilst on a bombing raid to Hamburg, aircraft crashed near Andervenne, Germany. Grave at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

_______________________________________________________________

Location Information:

The Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park, London is located in Picadilly, opposite the RAF Club. It is betwwen Hyde Park Corner and Green Park underground stations.

Address: Bomber Command Memorial, Green Park, Piccadilly, London W1 7JZ.
GPS Location: 51°30’15” N 0°8’55” W.
Map Location: View Map Location

_______________________________________________________________



Posted in 311 Sqd, Events, Not Forgotton | 1 Comment

T2990 crew interred

In May 2021 the excavation of the Nieuwe Niedorp crash site of 311 (Czechoslovak) Sqn Wellington T2990 which crashed on the night of 23 June 1941 commenced by a recovery team from the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The purpose of this excavation, 80 years after its crash was to finally establish if five of its crew were in that aircraft.

The site excavation was completed that June, and human remains found in that aircraft were taken to the Royal Netherlands Army Salvage and Identification Service (BIDKL) specialist laboratory at Soesterberg, Holland. There detailed examination, using medical records and forensics tests established that the remains were of five airmen.

As some of the remains were as small as 8mm, it was not viable to assemble five sets of remains for individual burial and so the decision between the various authorities in Holland, Czech Republic and the UK was that all the remains would be placed in one casket and interred at CWGC Bergen op Zoom cemetery. Each of the five airmen would have their own headstone at that grave.

On 23 June 2022, the 81st anniversary of the crash, the five airmen were interred at CWGC Bergen op Zoom cemetery, Holland.

Attending the event were the Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Hanke Bruins, Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová, Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď, Defence Attaché Col Mark Maddick (RM) from the British Embassy, The Hague, relatives of Vilém Konštacký, Leonhard Smrček, Jan Hejna from the Czech Republic and Karel Valach’s who had travelled from the UK, along with local dignitaries, well wishers and military representatives from the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic. Media from Holland, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic covered the event for their respective countries. The events Honour Guard was from from the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

Dutch Interior Minister Hanke Bruins, whose Ministry was responsible for the aircraft recovery project, recalled a quote by Václav Havel, who said “It was everyone’s duty to fight for democracy. “

“Today’s generation should constantly remember this legacy of the heroic RAF pilots and aircrew,” said Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová. She also thanked the Dutch authorities for their quick work in discovering and analysing the remains of the crew.

Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď said: “I believe the story of these airmen from No 311 (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron RAF will live on in our historical memory forever and will serve as a shining example of patriotism, heroism and military virtues for the successors of their legacy in the ranks of the Czech and Slovak Armed Forces.”

_______________________________________________________________

Vilém Konštatský’s great-nephew, Radan Bukva said that “My great-uncle and his companions did not leave home to become heroes. But they are.”

He recalled that after the war, the communist regime persecuted Czechoslovak airmen who fought against the Nazis in the British service and tried to erase those who fell from the nation’s memory. It is only now that the memory of many of them is being honoured.

_______________________________________________________________

The men of Wellington T2990 :

_______________________________________________________________

Alois ROZUM

Aircrew Role : 2nd Pilot
* : 06.07.1912. Plzeň, Czechoslovakia.
† : 23.06.1942. Nieuwe Nierdop, Holland.
Age : 28
Rank : Flight Sergeant, RAF VR
Runnymede Panel : 37
Grave : Coll. grave 24. AA. 1-5.

_______________________________________________________________

Vilém KONŠTATCKÝ

Aircrew Role : Navigator
* : 17.11.1914. Čelechovice na Hané, Czechoslovakia.
† : 23.06.1942. Nieuwe Nierdop, Holland.
Age : 26
Rank : Pilot Officer, RAF VR
Runnymede Panel : 33
Grave : Coll. grave 24. AA. 1-5.

_______________________________________________________________

Leonhard SMRČEK

Aircrew Role : Wireless operator
* : 29.12.1915. Budišov, Czechoslovakia.
† : 23.06.1942. Nieuwe Nierdop, Holland.
Age : 25
Rank : Pilot Officer, RAF VR
Runnymede Panel : 34
Grave : Coll. grave 24. AA. 1-5.

_______________________________________________________________

Jan HEJNA

Aircrew Role : Front Gunner
* : 07.02.1915. Jaroměř, Czechoslovakia.
† : 23.06.1942. Nieuwe Nierdop, Holland.
Age : 26
Rank : Flight Sergeant, RAF VR
Runnymede Panel : 36
Grave : Coll. grave 24. AA. 1-5.

_______________________________________________________________

Karel VALACH

Aircrew Role : Rear Gunner
* : 26.01.1918. Kroměříž, Czechoslovakia.
† : 23.06.1942. Nieuwe Nierdop, Holland.
Age : 23
Rank : Sergeant, RAF VR
Runnymede Panel : 37
Grave : Coll. grave 24. AA. 1-5.

_______________________________________________________________

Last flight of Wellington T2990:

Vickers Wellington bomber KX-T 2990 from 311 (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron took off for her last operation at 2316hrs on 22 June 1941. The target was the German port of Bremen with the following crew: Captain/1st pilot F/Sgt Vilém Bufka, 2nd pilot F/Sgt Alois Rozum, Navigator P/O Vilém Konštatcký, Wireless Operator P/O Leonhard Smrček, Front gunner F/Sgt Jan Hejna and Rear gunner F/Sgt Karel Valach. After reaching the target and dropping their bombs, they turned back for England. As it was customary, the 2nd pilot took the controls as they cleared Amsterdam. Just west of it they came under attack by the enemy night fighter Me 110 of Oberleutenant Prince Egmont zur Lippe-Weisenfeld from the II/NJG 1 at Bergen. The Wellington was badly damaged and caught fire. This is how Vilem Bufka, the only survivor, described the situation (abbreviated from his interview given in London on 22 April 1945):

“The attacker fired several long rounds. The aircraft was hit and caught fire. From the struggle of the 2nd pilot it was obvious to me, that he could no longer control the plane which started descending fast. I gave the order to abandon the stricken aircraft via the Intercom but received no acknowledgement. I decided to check on the W/O and the navigator but could not reach them for the raging flames and heat. I returned to the cockpit where the 2nd pilot was struggling to get out of the plane which was falling in a spiral. I also noticed the open hatch into the front turret but could not see Hejna anywhere. I realised that I had to get out fast. The 2nd pilot was half-way out of the plane at that time. I put on a parachute but could not exit the aircraft because of the draught. I opened the chute inside and threw it out of the hole. The last thing I remember was a knock on my head. I woke up in hospital two days later. I had a broken leg and several cuts on my head and torso.”

The aircraft came down at 0213hrs at Nieuwe Niedorp village north east of Alkmaar. Vilem Bufka was taken prisoner of war. The bodies of the five airmen were not found.

_______________________________________________________________

Information about the T2990 Excavation Summer 2021 here, here and here

_______________________________________________________________

Address: Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery, Ruytershoveweg 17, 4622 RJ Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands.
GPS Location: N 51 30 8, E 04 19 58
Map Location: View
Posted in 311 Sqd, Events, Not Forgotton | 5 Comments

Hledani ztraceneho casu – v Britanii za vlast – 4

Part 4 of a Czech language documentary about the Czechoslovak Wing – 310, 312 and 313 Sqns when deployed at RAF Exeter in 1942.

Posted in 310 Sqd, 312 Sqd, 313 Sqd, Not Forgotton | Leave a comment

Celakovice – 18.06.22.



Posted in 312 Sqd, Events, Exhibitions, Forthcoming Events | Leave a comment